Case Study: Cloud & Operations
A leading provider of stock images and other media needed to modernize and improve upon its existing change management capabilities. The traditional change management process in place regularly resulted in approvals and projects getting delayed as changes became bottlenecked.
The group was using ServiceNow—a popular cloud-based ITSM platform—for request fulfillment and incident management. The platform had been installed by a third-party vendor experienced in ServiceNow implementations, but the third-party had not worked with the IT group to optimize the platform to enable the organization’s Lean Agile approach to development. While the development teams were efficient and wanted to push projects into production faster, the operations teams couldn’t seem to keep up with the pace of change. The change management process in place was necessary to reduce risk and negative impacts to customers and partners who access and use the company’s technology, but was effectively throttling efficiency.
The IT organization knew that modification to the change management process was necessary, but lacked sufficient internal expertise to implement the solution.
For many IT organizations, production change management processes have not evolved as fast as product delivery teams would like. They are viewed as cumbersome, resulting in frequent stops to productivity. The reason for this lies in many places–for example, key participants not being able to provide sufficient information during the early stages of a project, creating the need to have additional review and approval. The key challenge to optimizing change management for this company’s IT group was aligning it with the agility of its development practices and distributing accountability, review and approval of production risks across teams. Ultimately, the new change process needed to reduce the risk of change to production while being nimble and flexible enough to keep up with the expected pace of delivery.
Searching for outside assistance to optimize ServiceNow also represented a unique challenge. The company had already over-committed existing resources to other priorities and wanted a partner that could provide some strategic review and leadership on their need. The company’s hesitancy was amplified by its experience with the third party that had previously installed ServiceNow, as this vendor relied on an overly complex methodology and had failed to adjust their delivery approach to the group’s desired need.
Fortunately, the company experienced great success with AIM Consulting services in augmenting its IT staff. Upon learning that AIM is a ServiceNow Partner with end-to-end solution delivery in ITSM and technology enablement, the company decided to entrust AIM with its ServiceNow change management solution.
Shawn McCoy, a Principal Consultant of AIM’s IT Service Management practice, and three additional AIM consultants optimized the IT group’s ServiceNow change management module for the organization’s Lean Agile methodologies in just eight weeks.
AIM employed an iterative approach, which allowed the team to quickly analyze the state of the environment, get feedback, and deliver a solution that exceeded the organization’s original expectations. Key pieces of functionality were delivered in weekly sprints. During each sprint, the week’s goals were outlined and then completed with development, unit testing, and acceptance testing. If the sprint resulted in enough technology to put into production, that code was released so teams could quickly leverage the value of the changes.
The IT organization had been utilizing a change oversight committee to oversee and approve all changes. AIM decoupled this step while still maintaining approvals as part of the change process by distributing approvals among management based on accountabilities. This effectively decentralized the process and made it fit neatly into the IT group’s Lean environment.
The solution also automated repetitive change actions such as notifications on certain state changes as well as authorization status, enabling additional efficiency. The solution integrates smoothly with other ServiceNow modules, such as the incident management module. In addition, AIM helped the group to understand how various APIs work with ServiceNow, a transfer of knowledge that left the IT group with the ability to build out further automation in the future.
Finally, the solution allowed visibility to be maintained across the IT organization for all changes being put into production. Even with the faster change process in place, the group wanted to retain visibility across management so that risk was understood widely and teams knew what was occurring throughout the production environment.
The client was excited that what we delivered met their needs perfectly, especially in being able to use ServiceNow for that purpose. With the way we executed the project, they were very happy with the results and immediately wanted to work with us again.— Shawn McCoy. Principal Consultant, ITSM, AIM Consulting
The IT organization now has an optimized change management process that maximizes the utility of the ServiceNow technology it already had in place. The distribution of accountability, decentralization of approvals and faster project cycles have allowed the development and operations teams to work together more efficiently. Meetings now involve fewer but more relevant groups of people. Overall, the teams now have a lighter, more comfortable change process that’s perfectly tailored to their environment. Communications across teams have improved as a result of increasingly aligned processes.